A crowdfunding pilot that allowed children to enjoy meeting animals at a petting zoo has paved the way for bigger community projects across the borough of Kingston.

Families from the Alpha Road estate in Surbiton were given the opportunity at their annual fun day.

Council officers supported Jackie Paddon, secretary of the Alpha Road Community Group, with her crowdfunding bid.

Ms Paddon said: “We wanted to give kids on the estate the opportunity to interact with a selection of animals and insects at the fun day. Keeping pets on the estate is not commonplace, and for many families, a trip to the zoo is beyond reach, so to bring the zoo to them, we needed to raise £300.

“Donations ranging between £2 to £75 were received online, and before we knew it, we had the funds we needed. I’d like to say a big thank you to all our supporters, the kids loved it, especially Nancy the chameleon!”

Ward member and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mike Head, said: “Crowdfunding is an excellent way of independently financing a community project. It enables communities to take control of their own destiny by allowing them to decide where they want to focus their efforts and donate their money.

“I used my ward funding to contribute towards the petting zoo because the fun day promotes community cohesion and offers young people on the estate a memorable and stimulating experience.”

Two larger bids are being launched in the wake of the Alpha Road crowdfund success.

Kingston Environment Centre is transforming its yard into a ‘community and wellbeing garden’, where people can come to relax and learn about wildlife and food growing.

A railway bridge separating the Malden Manor estate from a public meadow is to be transformed with planting and a mosaic, created by the community.

The schemes have targets to raise £14,000 and £13,000 respectively – the community garden project is live and accepting donations, and the mosaic makeover project will go live later this month.